Some models have a head for business

NEW YORK --- Some models are more than just pretty faces: They're successful businesswomen, parlaying their time on the catwalk into careers that show off that other important asset -- their wits.


Heidi Klum, for example, is starting her fifth season Wednesday as host and executive producer of Project Runway . That's practically her spare time considering she has her own jewelry line with Mouawad, her own skin-care line called In An Instant and, even at age 35, one of the busiest models in the world.

She ranks 78th on the Forbes magazine list of most powerful celebrities. Also in the top 100 were Gisele Bundchen and Kate Moss, who has a clothes line with Topshop and her own fragrance with Coty.

Ms. Klum, chosen by the Accessories Council as last year's most important fashion influencer, didn't wait to begin her business empire until the sunset of her modeling career. Victoria's Secret has made her its star "angel" and she caused quite a stir with recent risque Jordache ads, but, she says, she gets the biggest thrill when she sees her brands on the street.

"When I see people wearing my pieces, it's superflattering because they spent money on it," she says.

Most models-turned-moguls go into some sort of fashion-related business because it is what they know best, but there also are role models to be found in television personality Tyra Banks and furniture designer Cindy Crawford.

Sports Illustrated swimsuit pinup girl (and fellow Victoria's Secret angel) Marisa Miller takes inspiration from the catwalkers who came before her: "I'm definitely thinking that far in advance. ... First you become a spokesperson and then you can branch out as you become a personality and, as people know your name, you can do more things."

Ms. Miller launches her first design project, a partnership with shoe brand Vans, this week.

At right is a look at some models proving they can be successful in business:


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